WithU Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow had more than the elements to battle during Saturday MotoGP qualifying at Motegi.
With thunderstorms and torrential rain cancelling the final free practice for the premier class in Japan, Crutchlow had limited running as he returned to action at the Mobility Resorts Motegi circuit.
The deterioration in conditions from the morning’s FP2 proved challenging for the RNF rider but with multiple crashes across the 15-minute session all but one hot lap, set on his fourth of eight, would stand as the chequered flag dropped. A 1’58.115 lining him up 23rd for Sunday’s 24-lap race.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result in qualifying today,” Crutchlow said of his frustrating Saturday. “I think we showed a good pace in the rain. First of all, I chose the wrong front tyre for this session. I saw the amount of water and though the soft front tyre would be ok, but it was too weak in the braking.
“I was able to make a good lap, which would put me in a good position on the grid, that I would have been quite happy with but the yellow flags were out.
“I didn’t understand the rule that the whole lap got cancelled. I slowed down in the sector to make sure I didn’t better that sector, but unfortunately, the whole lap got cancelled. I continued my lap and made not a bad lap time.
“I had four yellow flags in the session, so every lap that I did was cancelled essentially! I was obviously disappointed to be in the back row of the grid for tomorrow’s race but the team did a good job today.
“I’m pleased with the performance of the bike. We can definitely improve. Overall, I’m happy enough. We just need to get a good start tomorrow and see what we can do for the race.”